If Beale Street Could Talk Review
by Crystal Yakel-Kuntz
This, this is how you tell a story about love. All kinds of deep love, prevailing love. Love that abides in the face of a society that wishes it gone. Who wish you gone. Love for lovers. For children. For other people’s children. For community. This immense love can be heard and seen through a repeating line of the film, “These are our children, and we must set them free.”
If Beale Street Could Talk centers on the love and strength of black folks, through the burgeoning of a New Jim Crow. A New Jim Crow of false charges and the birth of the prison industrial complex. Through the oppressive nature of institutionalized racism, Baldwin’s characters are immortally resilient and filled with grace for each other.
Oscar award winning director of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins, has once again delivered a simply beautiful story that eloquently delivers deeply troubling tales of our world. Although the story is simply beautiful, the refined craft of Jenkins’s direction that creates that story is anything but simple itself. The use of a score to gorgeously orchestrate the feeling of a scene, the perfectly slow framed shots, and the still framed photos and narration work in tandem to illustrate on film the timeless words of James Baldwin.
Words, that both fortunately and unfortunately, reverberate throughout the decades. Fortunately, for the love he shows between two people is extraordinarily poetic. Unfortunately, for us his words on sexism and racism still pervade our world today. But both stories must be told, for we learn through stories.
If Beale Street Could Talk is out in theatres December 14th, limited release. Watch the trailer here to get a taste of the beautiful direction of Jenkins’s scenes and of Baldwin’s characters.